Wednesday, July 27, 2005

What in the world are you doing working without your apron on?!

Philly Farmgirl Posted by Picasa

As I explore the lost art of homemaking and endeavor to become a skilled homemaker, I think of the beauty of our 'uniform', the apron. Who does not feel like an excellent homemaker when they don their apron? There is something almost magical about tyeing apron strings! I immediately have the desire to conquer the world! Well, at least my dishes.

Think of all thier uses. They help keep our clothing tidy and dry. I for one admit I am guilty of wiping my wet hands on my skirt when I cannot find a tea towel. What about wiping milk covered mouths? Again I have not been above using my skirt. ::::blushes:::

How about carrying toys or eggs from the hen house? (I miss my chickens). Here is a quote from Tasha Tudor's site:

"Aprons were indispensable to women at one time. They can be used to carry fruit, eggs, flowers or anything too cumbersome for your two hands. Often used to dust or quickly wipe a counter as the guests arrive. Tasha Tudor doesn't understand how 'modern women' get along without them."

Aprons reflect our individual personalities. Are you a smock wearer? Pratical and to the point. Are you a half apron wearer, full of ruffles but sensible at the same time. Or are you a pinafore girl, making sure all your bases are covered. Maybe you use all of these styles.

Do you have everyday aprons and fancy lacy ones for company? Remember the lovely but very impractical aprons of yesteryear. They hardly had any material to them, made mostly of guaze, lace, and frill, but oh they were the height of feminine hostessing. Someone mentioned maybe we could bring them back into 'fashion'. Think of it ladies, a homemaking revolution! All of us proudly donning our aprons, children by our sides, proudly wearing the uniform of our creative feminity. So before you get back to your busy day after our visit, grab your apron and pause before you tie it, knowing that like you, I will be happily working , wanting nothing more than to be just who I am, a homemaker.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

What punctuation mark are you?

Greetings to all,

The other night at our shabbat dinner table my youngest daughter , Tzivya, asked such an interesting question and I thought I would share it with you. She asked us what was our favorite punctuation mark and why? So after we all thought for several moment this is what we came up with:

Imma chose a comma because the having to, pause, fascinates me.

Ya'akov chose a question mark. He wasn't sure why?

Racheli chose an exclamation mark. They excite her!

Tzivya chose a semi colon because she likes them; they are interesting and not many people use them.

Papa chose parentheses (really?) because there is always something behind them.

So fellow homeschoolers, which would you choose?

Monday, July 25, 2005

Of Birds and Rain

Shalom Aliechem,

I am so pleased you stopped by this morning. Aren't early mornings lovely? It really is my favorite part of the day. I think it always has been. I remember when I was a child feeling so wonderful as I lay in my bed with my mother clanging about in the kitchen. The sounds of the pots and dishes, the smell of the coffee and toast she was usually making, were some of my nicest childhood memories. I remember lying there snuggled up pleased that yesterday was gone and the night was over, looking foward to a new day.

A new day, with new beginings and new possibilities. To paraphrase our beloved Anne of Green Gables,"... isn't it nice to think that today is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?"

This morning is particularly intersting for me because it is raining quite hard outside. Now, in spite of this, the birds are singing joyfully! How can this be? What is there to sing about? Aren't they getting there tiny feathered bodies soaked, and yet they are singing? What an object lesson! The birds teach me in spite of the rain falling on them they rejoice and they sing. Do I have not more reason to do so? In spite of the rain I percieve falling in my life should I not sing? Especially since I know that all that G-d sends me and gives me is ultimately for my good. Should I then not sing in the morning?

Perhaps the birds knew that the earth needed the rain so they are expressing their gratitude. Maybe they knew the gardens were drying up so they rejoice. Should I then not see the rain as a sorrow but as a blessing? "Gamzu l'tova," This too is for the good!

Yesterday is gone, gone with it sadness, gone with it's sorrow, gone with the troubles and is only a dream. Today is a new day! Today is reality! Today I must look for the good my Father is sending me in all things and sing!

"In the evening one lies down weeping, but with the dawn-a cry of joy!" Psalm 30

Welcome to the morning!

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Village Mentality

Women need each other! Think of simpler times, long ago times when we were a village or a tribal people. We did everything as a community. We cooked, washed our clothes, raised our children with our 'sisters' by our side. We were there for all the passages of time and life cycles. When a girl began her 'moon time' we were all there, when she married, we were all there, when she birthed , we were all there, and when she left this life, we were all there. I am not trying to romanticize this time because I know that is was not always so 'beautiful' . I know this was a very difficult time that warranted the need for others but I do know that we were a community then and we were not alone. I do not think our deep needs have really changed. We have been force fed independence to the degree there is no longer interdependence between people. Even families are slowly disinigrating. If a husband or wife no longer please each other they can be rid of the other relatively easy. Now this planet is filled with so many individuals. Many of us feel or have felt alone in our lives. We do not even have our own blood family near us let alone a tribe or village. You are right Molly Mae, this is why we all flock to these sites. We come here to find each other, to comfort and draw strength from each other. We in our souls are searching for this common bond. Society has tried to strip us of our true feminine power, saying feminist mentality is where it is at. The feminist movement had accomplished quite a bit, not all of it bad, but the one thing they did accomplish, which is a tremendous dis service to us all is taking away our feminine power as women. We no longer take pride in our homes and homemaking skills. We do not take part in our births, we want medication to feel no pain, we want ease and comfort through it all. When the child does arrive society tells us we must go back to work because we need "things". They tell us to give OUR children to daycares, to schools, to the world. They tell us to long for the day when they turn the magical age of 18 and we can be RID of them! What kind of madness is that?! I know this has become long winded, I apologize, but I feel this so deeply. I am so blessed to read once again I am not alone and to encourage all of us to perservere together in our high calling of motherhood. We are the heart of our homes, may we all of us beat loud and strong with love. May we all help each other in this journey and encourage each other on the way.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Homeschool thoughts...Are you a teacher?

Greetings to all,

This past weekend while I was at an event, I was introduced to someone in my neighborhood. When they heard my name they said, "Oh, you are that homeschool lady". I was very pleased to hear this is one of the things I am known by. This gentleman then proceeded to ask me, "Are you a teacher?".


Now, I shall preface this by saying in years past, meaning my early homeschool years, I would have answered him by saying no. I may have then gone into all kinds of apologetics as to why I can homeschool my children. Then I might have gone into how the state of Pennslyvania only requires a parent to have a highschool diploma or the equivalent etc. This time I smiled and simply said,"YES!". Of course I am a teacher! We all of us parents are. Some of us do have initials after our names saying we are recognized by the state as teachers, some have dimplomas saying we are, but the rest of us simply have the G-d given right. I am a teacher of this latter sort. When I first thought about homeschooling, I thought to myself that there was no way I could undertake such a venture. Surely I was not capable of teaching my own children. Things would fall through the cracks and what about highschool? But I could not imagine them left to someone else's, particularly societies, ideas and morals. It became a matter of constant prayer. Was this even something the Almighty would bless? One day the answer came to me during a time of prayer. In my mind I saw the many children I had taught to one degree or another throughout my years. Classes I had given, babysitting I had done, etc. and I thought to myself 'well, I did manage to do that'. Then the thought occurred to me that the Holy One, blessed be He, had given ME these children. He gave them to me, and apparently He, who knows all, must have thought I was capable to raise them, with His help of course. So it stands to reason I should be able to teach them. What about things falling through the cracks and what about highschool? We homeschoolers tend to surround ourselves with education and educators. Through the years I have had the privledge of sharing friendships with people who have a deep love or even degrees in Math, Linguistics, Art, and they have been so glad to help us. I in turn have been able to help them in some fashion. We are great barterers! By the time highschool has come, my older ones had already learned to learn, so they needed me only as guidance or to help them find resources. How is it really that much different than brick and mortar schools and what other teachers do? I leave you with these quotes. After you have read them, answer the question, are you a teacher?

"It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge."
-- Albert Einstein

The best teachers teach from the heart, not from the book. ~Author Unknown

One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child. ~Carl Jung

"The greatest sign of success for a teacher... is to be able to say, "The children are now working as if I did not exist.""
Maria Montessori

You can get help from teachers, but you are going to have to learn a lot by yourself, sitting alone in a room."
Dr. Seuss quotes

The secret of teaching is to appear to have known all your life what you learned this afternoon"

Sunday, July 17, 2005


One of my dreams is to one day have some land where I can have sheep. Oh, yes and a border collie to herd them. Meanwhile, as we wait, my Beloved and I attend sheep and wool festivals. Yes, ladies, he actually enjoys them with me. Aren't I blessed? This picture is from one we attended last year in NJ. Isn't he a handsome fellow? My Beloved so wanted to purchase another sweet lamb that he saw there. I had to remind him that although I would have jumped at the opportunity when we lived in Lancaster County, I did not think our neighbors here would be pleased with us . Ah well, someday...